SolarPower Europe CEO joins Clean Energy Transition Dialogue with European Commission President and Vice President

1 March 2024

SolarPower Europe CEO, Walburga Hemetsberger, joins two Clean Energy Transition Dialogues to discuss key topics for the energy transition with European Commission President Ursular von der Leyen and Vice President Maroš Šefčovič.

During the session, Hemetsberger joined European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and Executive Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič ,to highlight two important goals that are essential to continue the success story of solar in Europe:

1. Continue growing solar generation in Europe.

We need, on average, 70 GW of newly installed capacity annually until 2030. Last year we installed record 56GW - this is not enough yet. At the moment, solar growth is slowing down. To support this growth, we need:

  • a more favourable investment environment; 
  • investments in infrastructure and flexibility; 
  • to combine challenges of the agricultural sector and the biodiversity crisis and turn it into an opportunity with agrisolar and dual land-use;️ 
  • to attract workers and increase skills; 

to reduce permitting times.

2. Re-shoring manufacturing to Europe.

We need a bold industrial strategy for solar to meet our 30 GW by 2030 manufacturing target. The energy transition needs to be an investment agenda, where opex financing will be made possible. 

Right now, European solar manufacturers need our immediate attention. We need to give a life raft to the projects we want to scale up in Europe, to give them a fighting chance until more structural measures kick in.

SolarPower Europe has been calling for a Special Purpose Vehicle to support manufacturers immediately, and a Solar Manufacturing Facility to structurally channel EU Funds to the technology driving the energy transition.

Hemetsberger also highlighted that even if many components today are imported, there is an existing thriving industry in Europe that can't be taken for granted: inverters.

Inverters have a critical role to play in the digital transition. An inverter is the brain of the solar system. They make solar energy usable and empower homes and businesses with smart digital solutions.

Inverters are also a key link in Europe's solar industrial landscape. Right now, inverters employ +70% of Europe's solar manufacturing workforce. Europe is holding on to over 60 GW of inverter manufacturing capacity. In the face of growing global competition, we must make sure we strengthen Europe's inverter base.



26 February - Clean Transition Dialogue on Energy Infrastructure


In this dialogue, Hemetsberger exchanged with Executive Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič to highlight four key priorities for the solar sector:


1. Implementation

To start with, we need to implement all the great rules we already have. Only what gets measured, gets done, said President Ursula von der Leyen at our previous Clean Transition Dialogue. For grids that means we need (national) indicators on the grid situation, to better monitor decentralised infrastructure and the build up of flexibility, supporting a swift implementation.

2. Flexibility

Turn the Grids Action Plan into a Grid and Flexibility Action Plan. The Grids Action Plan is a good start, but let's take it further. It should go beyond grid development into grid use optimisation, and include the development of flexible resources. Further additional regulatory actions can be taken to support with the development of flexible resources. 

2. Investment

There must be investment into electricity infrastructure, with a particular focus on the distribution grid. We need system operators and authorities to be planning and making anticipatory investments in the grid for the decades to come.

3. Dialogue

There is a lot of work to be done, and it will only get done by working together. We are looking forward to continuing the dialogue and working with grid operators and regulators and the European Commission to get the European grids to the next level.

Interested in becoming a member?

Have a look at the membership pages to find out all about your benefits

Why become a member?